Global corporations claim their new technologies will benefit us all, but they could threaten us, particularly small-scale food producers and consumers. Even before COVID-19, the arrival of big data, synthetic biology, robotics and other tech were being hailed as the answers to hunger, climate change and even infectious disease. In the summer of 2020, ETC Group began convening conversations with, and among, civil society organisations, social movement allies and communities with whom we work. “Which Way Forward?” examined the implications of technological trends, especially those advanced under COVID-19, particularly as they affect the Global South. They will also outline alternatives for the future. In this session you can hear from Southern activists who have taken part in the dialogues. They will give their views on the process, the technologies under discussion and their vision for the democratisation of technology.
Conventional structures of business ownership have been shown to be completely incompatible with the needs of the planet and society. Short term profit motivated thinking has cost us dearly and the implications of veracious capitalism and the consumerist society that it has created are now coming home to roost. Urgent action is required and business needs to be a big part of this – they can’t just wait for customers to demand action from them. Movements like BCorp give cause for hope – galvanising businesses around the world behind a desire to balance profit and purpose. But without a fundamental rethink of business ownership – will business ever really be fit for purpose for our future.
In this session we will consider businesses that have chosen or are considering different paths of ownership to seek to lock in values for the long term. The session will be chaired by Rob Haward, MD of Riverford and will include Guy Singh-Watson, Riverford’s Founder, and Gabriela Delgado, who represents a co-operative of cardamom growers in Guatemala.
This session will focus on the US Food Sovereignty Movement (USFSA) and the process of organizing for food sovereignty in the “Belly of the Beast”. We will think together about how we can work across boundaries, amongst different constituencies to mobilize for food sovereignty in contexts, like the US and the UK, from where industrial and corporate agriculture is consolidated and projected onto the world. This session is organized in the spirit of mutual learning and solidarity with the intention that new ideas, connections and inspiration can emerge from sharing the history, processes, challenges and vision of the USFSA.
The session will include a talk by Saulo Araujo from WhyHunger (US) who will present his talk, “In the Belly of the Beast”, which will provide a historical and contextual analysis of neoliberal policies and its effects on grassroots organizing in the United States. This will be followed by a dialogue between Saulo and Gisèle Yasmeen from Canada and Dee Woods from the UK, who are each engaged in their own movements working for food sovereignty in these different national contexts. The session will be introduced and moderated by Colin Anderson, who is plugged into both the USFSA and the UK Food Sovereignty Movement.
In this panel we will hear directly from three countries – Honduras, Colombia and Paraguay – which have rich experiences of peasant struggle but also have very high levels of criminalization against peasants, indigenous, and afrodescendent peoples and other defenders of human rights. Each panelist, which represents a different member organization of the Latin American Coordination of Rural Organizations (Coordinadora Latinoamericana de Organizaciones del Campo – CLOC-Vía Campesina), the Latin American expression of La Via Campesina, will speak about the situation in each of their countries as well as the importance of implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other Peoples Working in Rural Areas, a historic conquest of international movement La Via Campesina and adopted by the UN General Assembly in December of 2018.
Fires are now a staple of summer in California, which is also during one of the most important growing cycles. As California endures this new climate pattern farmers are facing the reality of burnt land, seedlings, and precious harvest lost. What can be done? What is being done? What might others learn? Come hear the diverse perspectives on how leaders in California are continuing to embody resilience in the face of these acute challenges.
Only a decade ago it was widely thought that tropical forests and intact natural environments threatened humans by harbouring the viruses and pathogens that lead to new diseases in humans like Ebola, HIV and dengue. Today, a number of researchers think it is actually humanity’s destruction of biodiversity that creates the conditions for new viruses and diseases like COVID-19 to arise. These viruses have profound health and economic impacts in rich and poor countries alike and there is a growing awareness that the well-being of humans, other living things and entire ecosystems are closely interconnected.
In this session we look at how changes in farming practice - in particular growing monocultures at scale and an increasing reliance on corporate plant breeding at the expense of genetic diversity, have helped create the conditions for these new diseases to emerge. And we ask what can be done to protect us from future pandemics.
The foundation of any agroecological food system is secure land title, especially for farmers and pastoralists displaced from ancestral lands and vulnerable to land grabs. This session will explore land rights and access to land for agroecological producers. We will explore indigenous and peasant experiences, especially from the perspective of youth interested in pursuing a farming livelihood. The session will feature a moderated conversation between La Via Campesina and the International Indian Treaty Council, two leading global agroecology and land rights networks.
Agriculture and the food system accounts for nearly one third of all greenhouse gases, but the vast majority of this is from the energy intensive production and distribution of a few internationally traded commodities. Whereas farmers operating agro-ecological systems around the world produce food and resources for their communities while reducing cO2 emissions from agriculture and sequestering carbon at the same time.
Many governments now accept the need for net zero but there is a huge amount of conflict over the strategies we need to get there. From corporate veganism to carbon offsetting these false solutions continue to rely on the exploitation of people and resources around the world, just as much as the current agri-industrial food system does.
In this session, we will outline the Landworkers’ Alliance and La Via Campesina’s vision of how to create a genuinely climate friendly agriculture system while resisting the false solutions advocated for by the corporations ultimately responsible for reducing fossil fuels.
Do we even have a right to be hopeful? With political and ecological fires raging all around, is it irresponsible to imagine a future world radically better than our own? A world of healed ecosystems? Of food sovereignty and equal access to land? A world where governments fear the people instead of the other way around?
These are questions that Naomi Klein and Nnimmo Bassey wrestled with when they conceived of a sequel to last year's Emmy-nominated short, "A Message From the Future with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez." The first film, co-written by the congresswoman and illustrated by Molly Crabapple, was set in a can-do future: one in which bold, progressive politicians joined with grassroots movements to launch the "Decade of the Green New Deal," battling poverty, injustice, and climate disruption all at the same time. The film touched a nerve and ended up being viewed more than 12 million times, convincing our little team of the need for more art that departs from well-worn apocalyptic scripts. Then Covid-19 hit.
Join globally-known activists, Naomi Klein and Nnimmo Bassey, as they show us the eight-minute sequel to Message from the Future, discuss the lessons we can learn from this extraordinary time and what a better and more hopeful future might look like.